In my dealings with leaders, they consistently tell me that they are frustrated. They know their organisation is capable of much better results but are working long days, evenings and weekends to eke out even a few percentage points improvement in the bottom line.
You, like them, probably can’t work any harder. In that case, how can you make the transformational changes to your organisation and it’s results that you know are possible – but which always seem tantalisingly out of reach?
The answer lies in your team
Over the last two years we have been conducting some research into leadership teams – and have talked to dozens of leaders in a wide range of organisations across a range of sectors.
There have been many fascinating findings, but the most striking insight was about the impact of leadership teams on results.
We asked leaders to put a figure on how much performance would be increased if the leadership team worked to it’s full potential.
- Leaders who already rated their teams as already effective put this, on average, at 45%.
- Those who felt their team was underperforming estimated a 90% uplift.
Even if only half of this value is capable of being realised, this must still make it the biggest single opportunity to improve results in most organisations.
Leadership Teams may be the most neglected subject in organisational life
The research results are consistent with what leaders tell me in conversation. Most say that the effectiveness of the team is equally important as the performance of individual leaders.
The paradox is that the money and time spent on individual leadership (recruitment, performance management, reward and development) massively outweighs the attention given to leadership team effectiveness.
And this is true despite the fact that it’s an open secret in most organisations that the leadership team operates somewhere between mild dysfunction and open warfare!
This disparity extends to research and writing. There are thousands of books on leadership, and thousands on teams – but so far I have only found four on leadership teams.
So why are leaders not acting on this?
Here are some of the reasons why leaders are leaving all this potential value on the table.
How many of them do you recognise in your team?
- “We know its important but are spending all of our available time dealing with today’s urgent things – so we never get round to it.”
- “We all know we’re not working well together but it’s easier to continue to do this than raise the subject which might cause offence or provoking defensiveness.”
- “We’ve made some half-hearted efforts at it in the past and have been put off by how little we got out of them.”
- “None of us are content with the incremental improvement we’re getting but it’s less scary than aiming for what we truly aspire to.”
- “Team effectiveness is something that we don’t know enough about even to get started.”
How can this help you?
Over the coming months I’ll give you the antidote to the obstacles above and ideas to diagnose and address the barriers in your team.
Subjects that we’ll cover will include:-
- The six things that all high performing leadership teams do well.
- Assessing the value and making a business case for improving the functioning of your leadership team.
- Identifying where your team is strong and weak – and benchmarking it against against high and low performing comparators.
- Building support for making changes – within the team and with key stakeholders.
- The key ingredients of a successful efforts to create a high performing team.
Watch this space, therefore, for further best practice updates in this series.
If you think you may need more help, more quickly then please make contact by email or phone (0845 519 7871).
Please feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might also be interested to hear more about getting better results through their team.